Thursday, February 8, 2018

Book Review: 'Navy One' by Pedro Vasquez

New York author Pedro Vasquez was born in the Dominican Republic but move to New York City ad joined the US Navy in 1992, retiring in 2012. He makes an impressive debut with NAVY ONE, his first novel that is most certain to launch a successful literary career. Prior to novels Pedro wrote screenplays (his ability to create near cinematic scenes in this book is evidence of that experience). Though we are not privy to Pedro’s complete background, it seems his knowledge of ships and the Navy and the current milieu of terrorist activity in the world is sure. He writes in a manner that reminds us of John le CarrĂ©, John Grisham, John Ludlum et al – and that is high praise.

In addition to the talent for building suspense, Pedro introduces some nuances that add to his writing – the President of the US is a woman here, the major role of women in a hijacked ship, the meaning of family, the manner in which death is faced and described – all of these make his story accessible and from the heart as well as sending terror signals to the brain.

The provided synopsis is excellent and would be difficult to improve: ‘Making good on a promise, US President Margaret Benson, along with her husband and her son, embarks aboard a US Navy carrier on what should be an uneventful, two-and-a-half-day trip from Hawaii to California. A few hours into the trip, terrorists take control of the nuclear-powered ship after overwhelming its crew and the President’s secret service agents. Outgunned, outnumbered, and with her husband already in the hands of the hijackers, President Benson must not only evade capture while trying to contact the White House, but she must also locate her son inside the massive ship before the hijackers do. Back at the White House the Vice-President hastily puts together a plan to disable the carrier -a plan that fails. The Vice-President advises a preemptive strike against a suspected nation. Wanting to appear tough in the middle of a reelection campaign, the President authorizes the strike -despite her own misgivings. With strategic bombers set to erase the suspected country off the face of the earth, and with time running out, the President realizes she’s on her own. She must find the means within herself to outwit the terrorists, save her family, and the United States of America. However, all is not as it seems... The President must trust her own instincts and overcome a lack of trust in her-so-far-unreliable son. He might be the only help she gets in preventing World War III.’

Solid writing from a new voice. Watch him grow! Grady Harp, May 16

Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.